Jonathan Edwards

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In an excerpt from Jonathan Edwards’ sermon, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” he uses different techniques such as “force, rhythm, and vividness of language” to convince listeners to agree with him. Edwards, who wrote this sermon in 1741 during the Great Awakening, is able to express his point of how everyone is a sinner and they are going to hell if they do not behave well and perform righteous acts. The force he uses is to really get the point across with loaded language. Edwards communicates to his listeners that “ God has so many different unsearchable ways of taking wicked men out of the world” (18). Instead of using a simple, no descriptive word like bad, he uses a more specific description of wicked, which makes a bigger impact. By filling his words with fear like wicked, his listeners get the idea that they are beyond bad; they are wicked, sinful, evil people that are most likely going to hell. For example, if a person is told that his or her work is bad, he or she might just blow it off. However, if a person is told that his or her work is horrible or awful, he or she may work harder. Not only does Edwards use force, he also uses rhythm, or repetition; he even uses repetition on the loaded words. In this excerpt, Edwards claims “thus easy is it for God when He pleases to cast his enemies down to hell…They are now the objects of that very same anger and wrath of God, that is expressed in the torments of hell” (17). Edwards does not just tell the people they are going to hell, he continues to tell them over and over again so it sinks in. If someone is told that he or she is stupid every day, that person will eventually start to believe it. Edwards uses the same persuasive technique in his sermon. He knows his audience fear hell so he constantly tells them they are going there. Along with force and rhythm, Edwards uses powerful imagery, or vividness of language. He theorizes that “natural men are held in the hand of God, over the pit...
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